The Girl with a Brave Heart: A Tale from Tehran

Riotah, Author, Rita Jahanforuz, Author, Vali Mintzi, Illustrator
Rita Jahanforuz, illus. by Vali Mintzi. Barefoot, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-84686-931-0
Hardcover - 40 pages - 978-1-84686-929-7
Paperback - 40 pages - 978-1-84686-930-3
Hardcover - 40 pages - 978-1-84686-928-0
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Tehran native Jahanforuz, a singer living in Israel, relays a traditional tale about a kind, wise Persian girl named Shiraz. One day, after finishing chores for her demanding stepmother, Shiraz sits knitting on the balcony when the wind carries away a ball of wool that belonged to her late mother. It lands in the courtyard of an elderly neighbor, who agrees to return it if Shiraz smashes all the dirty dishes in the woman’s sink, cuts down all the flowers in her garden, and cuts off her unkempt hair. Jahanforuz doesn’t reveal Shiraz’s thought process as she sets kitchen, garden, and hair in order rather than destroying them, letting readers ponder her motives. As a reward, she is transformed into a nearly unrecognizable beauty. When Shiraz’s shallow stepsister visits the neighbor in hopes of becoming similarly comely, the girl follows the woman’s instructions to the letter, only to meet with disappointing results. Punctuated by bold shades of blue and terra cotta, Mintzi’s fluid gouache paintings mesh the realistic and abstract to capture the narrative’s folktale quality. A gentle tale about the importance of inner beauty and of listening with one’s heart. Ages 4–10. (Mar.)
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